Applying Agile – 1 Top 10 essentials in applying Agile

December 6, 2013 | Posted in Practices | By

Top 10 essential and secret observations / tips in applying agile

Since the beginning days of ensarm, Over the years we used tons of different agile management tools starting with excel sheets, google docs, base camp, Jira with GreenHopper, Mingle, Version One, Pivotal Tracker, Railey and experimented with practically every other tool in the market. Since we were also developing our own i.e. engile it was essential to study approaches, practices that are efficient and easy to use.

All of the above have their own strengths and loose ends. End of the day we choose to stick to our home grown tool engile and have been developing it in leaps and bounces. And Agile was a practice of choice to begin with since the founding leaders of ensarm had practically exhausted all other development and delivery models prior.

As we applied industry accepted agile practices effectively we came across some startling facts and observations -

1. To achieve meaningful and verifiable deliveries Sprint durations need to be extremely flexible i.e. some sprints might need 3 weeks while the other 3 days. In essence you cannot really fixate on a standard sprint duration.

2. Planning as an activity is never performed by one individual. The scrum owner / facilitator and customer can bring in a lot of inputs but planning as an activity is inherently collaborative. Every developer and tester contributes to a near term plan if not the over all picture. Thus scheduling and participation decisions are inherently collaborative and collective.

3. Effective communication around project artefacts are critical, not only important.

4. Standup meetings and artefact discussion/review sessions are essential and need to be captured effectively.

5. Fluidity in participation planning, architecture, designing are critical to successful delivery.

6. Ongoing frequent (daily preferred) builds, testing and reviews are as essential as actual coding if not more.

7. The hardest challenge is to collect real time project progress updates in tool from actual developers. Specially if they are really committed to visualizing, building and delivering their committed output almost all project updates typically need reminders since its considered an extra work.

8. Developing a thorough understanding of the story, task, issue among all the participants to begin with is far more critical then creating a details document though documenting the details is essential.

9. Each and every team member must remain hands on including the leaders.

10. All of the above apply equally to inhouse and client projects and product development efforts.

All the above observations have lead us to a very interesting concept Now n Next . To be continued.

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